Aug 9, 2023 - Music

Greatest Cleveland concerts: No. 8 — The Rolling Stones' 1975 stadium gig

Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones perform in 1975.

Ronnie and Mick. Photo: Tom Hill/WireImage

The biggest band in the world, playing the largest concert in Cleveland history. What more could you ask for?

Why it matters: The Rolling Stones' June 14, 1975, concert at Cleveland Municipal Stadium drew an estimated 82,000 people — the largest concert crowd seen in Northeast Ohio up to that point.

Flashback: The Stones' Tour of the Americas '75 featured 22 tons of sound and lighting equipment requiring more than a half-million watts of power.

  • It was also the band's first tour with new guitarist Ronnie Wood and future Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Billy Preston on keys.

Zoom in: The Rolling Stones hadn't played Cleveland since 1966, before they'd become "The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World."

Details: The Stones' concert featured Tower of Power, The J. Geils Band and Joe Vitale's Madmen as openers. Tickets were just $10.

  • Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and company went on stage at 7:13pm with fireworks signaling their arrival.

What they did: The band walked out to Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" before the opening cowbell and drums of "Honky Tonk Women" kicked in.

What they wrote: "Mick Jagger danced, bowed, whirled and did a Chuck Berry scissors kick up and down the stage and gave little exuberant whoops," Plain Dealer music critic Jane Scott wrote.

  • "The old punk, raunchy image of the Stones has faded a bit, but the basic raw power remains. … They sounded better than ever."

The bottom line: The Rolling Stones returned to the World Series of Rock in 1978, but no show embodied Cleveland's peak live-music era more than that 1975 showcase.

Go deeper: 15 greatest concerts in Cleveland history

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